Despite the old adage “a good craftsman never blames his tools,” the benefits of high quality equipment cannot be overstated, particularly with regard to innovation.
Calhoun’s JDRD team seeks to add to the equipment available to scientists working in the field of nanomaterials by creating a new microscope capable of providing the detailed information necessary to understanding nanoparticle interfacial chemistry.
“Scientists have seen that the properties of nanoparticles seem to be really dependent on their surfaces. By making changes to the surface of the nanoparticle, we can change its properties, specifically those involved in light-producing and charge-carrying,” said Calhoun. “There are very small defects on these surfaces called trap states and our goal is to image these directly; thus providing valuable insight about the changes caused by manipulating the nanoparticle surfaces.” The results of this imaging could open up an entirely new methodology for studying and characterizing nanoparticles.
Calhoun’s microscope will yield an unprecedented glimpse into the chemical environment of nanoparticles and will lay the groundwork for future projects with novel and advancing nanomaterials. She intends for the microscope to be made available to scientists from across the world to address a broad range of study in the field of interfacial chemistry.
“Given that one result of this project is a new instrument, our collaboration will continue far beyond the scope of this award to fully exploit the advantages of this new technology for a broad range of applications,” wrote Calhoun.